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Rahadoum - Not atheistic, but dystheistic


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

151 to 172 of 172 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Contributor

Beckett wrote:
Not true. They both do persecute belief and even simple ownership of religious items, even those that are not used for conversion or evangical activities. Thats why Clerics have hidden personal practices and the Hidden Priest Archtype has the ability to use mundane items like a coin as a divine focus.

On the plus side, this does make Rahadoum a nation utterly free from religious kitsch. That's something at least.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
I'm not arguing that atheism is evil in game: it's not. It's simply massively unwise. And Rahadoum isn't doing it right anyway: they're a lawful neutral group of fanatics who persecute innocent people for believing differently from them. That's not in any way "good".

They're not really prosecuting belief. What they do prosecute is evangelical activities. They do however have a very broad definition of the word. They associate divine agents with the disastrous war they went though. In essence their mindset is not that different from that of the Founding Fathers who came from a Europe that had been wracked with centuries of warfare between Christianity and Islam, but even more so between different branches of Christianity itself, in which all the European nations were essentially theocracies so those doctrinal differences came to influence a lot of politics.

So the Founders actually took pains to decouple the Church from State for that reason.

... um, you're exhibiting both a very flawed view of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. and Rahadoum.

Unrelated Rant on the Founding Fathers:
The decoupling church from state was not to protect the state from the church, it was to protect church (and individual's faith - the predominance was Christian or Deist among said Founding Fathers) from interference from the Church. Today, of course, that intent has been taken to the point where we seek to allow religious freedom for all (within reason - that "reason" translating more or less to "nobody gets hurt") and to do so by removing the influence of any one faith - and any faith at all - from governmental decisions. But that's not the intent, as evidenced by those who established the nation starting all things in prayer and citing God as the reason behind most of the things that they do: to claim otherwise is ignorant or self-deceptive.

Please note that I am not saying that they were always either correct or incorrect, that they always interpreted their own religion correct (they did not). I am also not claiming that interpreting the documents the way we have is fundamentally wrong. But assigning our current socio-political views to them is very disingenuous and smacks of fable-style history akin to the tale of George Washington and the cherry tree.

Rahadoum actively persecutes religion. By the very nature of the Laws of Man, religion - in all its forms - are legally prohibited and punishable by law. This is the definition of "persecuting".

I even cited an example: they Pure Legion hopes to incite an incident in one of their own towns such that bad things happen blamed on the (LG by definition) cult of Iomedae so they can step in and "heroically clean up" in order to break said burgeoning cult's influence. That's persecution.

(In other news, I know Beckett totally and succinctly ninja'd me, but I felt it was worth responding to.)

Kevin: I'm curious if you mean it's something (as in something positive, I believe) because they lack religious iconography altogether, or just because there isn't any "religious merchandising", or something else.

Set: Upon rereading your suggestion that Sarenrae might be punishing them... I'm not following the line that leads to said conclusion (aside from the obvious one-to-one drought/sun/thing).

Set wrote:

All that aside, Sarenrae is also the goddess of honesty, and has an entire Prestige Class (the Dawnflower Dissident) set aside to deceit, disguise, secrecy and internecine struggles between different sub-sects of her own religion, complete with bonuses to affect other followers of Sarenrae, so my notion of what is 'thematic' for a neutral good goddesss of honesty and redemption may not always jibe with canon. :)

Maybe like the various neutral nations of the Inner Sea, like Hermea or Rahadoum, Sarenrae is less good and more evil than her printed alignment would suggest.

It may be that I'm just not understanding the first sentence (and since I don't know the prestige class), but the second doesn't seem to apply: you seem to say that the Dawnflower Dissident's purpose is to eliminate deceit, disguise, secrecy, and internecine struggles of her church; but then take that to the conclusion that a deity of honesty is less good than mentioned? Am I just reading what you said backwards?

(I'd say your thought-line about Nethys is entirely accurate, though.)

Osirion

Tacticslion wrote:
It may be that I'm just not understanding the first sentence (and since I don't know the prestige class), but the second doesn't seem to apply: you seem to say that the Dawnflower Dissident's purpose is to eliminate deceit, disguise, secrecy, and internecine struggles of her church

I communicated that poorly.

The Prestige Class *uses* deceit and disguise and secrecy and is an active part of internecine struggles within her church, to the point of having *combat bonuses* against fellow followers of Sarenrae.

For a goddess with honesty and redemption among her 'things,' a Sarenrae-specific PrC that's all about hiding who you are and doing things covertly and attacking co-religionists you don't agree with is a bit of an eye-opener, and suggests that perhaps Sarenrae *would* be the sort of 'neutral good' goddess who would drop a drought / famine on an entire country of non-evil people who annoyed her.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ah, sorry and thanks! Makes more sense now! :)

And thus, I could see that.

Shadow Lodge

That PC strikes me as particularly Inquisitor (better Cleric than Cleric) focused and also probably meant for Taldor (vs some non-good Qadirian Sarenrae "followers" rather than anything Rahadoum-like.

Im not sure it even has any connection to this thread's topic really.

Reading Osirions history and foundarion, however really hints at Nethys's "worship me OR ELSE!!!" attitude that essentually paints him/it in a very Whispering Tyrrant-like light in all mut the CE on his character <dev> sheet.

Contributor

Tacticslion wrote:
Kevin: I'm curious if you mean it's something (as in something positive, I believe) because they lack religious iconography altogether, or just because there isn't any "religious merchandising", or something else.

I specifically meant "religious kitsch," meaning religious merchandising and iconography both that's in severely bad taste and generally involves large numbers of cute children and/or babies in terminally quaint costumes with as many cute baby animals as you can stuff into the frame gazing adoringly at the deity of your choice.

As for the side rant...

separation of church and state:
I suggest you check Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists where he clarifies what he meant when he wrote the 1st Amendment, specifically the wall separating church and state, as well as the portion of the Treaty of Tripoli where it's lined out that the US is not a Christian nation. Note: All later treaties are considered part of the Constitution, same as Amendments.

And as further history, it should be noted that before the Founding Fathers made their break from England, there was some nasty business where Oliver Cromwell had the celebration of Christmas banned in Boston because he considered it a pagan holiday.

The Founding Fathers wanted the separation of church and state to prevent exactly this sort of nonsense, not to have every state set up its own personal state religion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ah, got it. I don't necessarily agree (though the images you paint are strange - not really the kind of art I normally associate with religious stuff, but to each their own), but I can see what you mean.

Side-rant continued! WARNING: IT'S HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE. Also, please note, I'm not upset, though I could see how this might come across as such. I just talk too much.:
Yes, I've read it. "A wall of seperation between church and state" means exactly that: that the state does not mandate any religion on others. Again, that's not the point. While they wanted each person to be free to follow their own faith, they founded every single principle of their law in what they believed were religious ideals: the very religious ideals they espoused. "Endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights" sound familiar? That's because they all beleived in a creator and it was the basis upon which they claimed said "inalienable rights".

I'm not going to claim "their" Christianity (or Deism, for that matter) resembles "ours" (as cultural implications and associations change over time), but their respective faiths were instrumental to their creation of the law. Their faith absolutely informed their creation - it was the basis for their morality and view of the world. It was different from ours, certainly, but Jefferson's words do not mean that the law is free of religious influence: it means it's not a church-run state. I.E. the "church" - as an institution - does not run the government. That is what he meant, and what he clarified in his letters.

To say this equates to "it can't and shouldn't ever influence" is simply not true.

Again, to clarify: I'm not defending my own faith as "America's", nor claiming their beliefs in any way resembled mine. From everything I've read, very few of them did. But their beliefs created, maintained, and influenced law and how it was created.

To quote it:

Jefferson wrote:

To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen
The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.
Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802.

This is clearly saying that no religious institution will dictate the nature of the government, not that religious ideas won't influence it.

Wikipedia's article.

To quote:

wikipedia wrote:
As a religious minority in Connecticut, the Danbury Baptists were concerned that a religious majority might "reproach their chief Magistrate... because he will not, dare not assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ," thus establishing a state religion at the cost of the liberties of religious minorities.

Their preceding letter:

Danbury letter wrote:

The address of the Danbury Baptist Association in the State of Connecticut, assembled October 7, 1801. To Thomas Jefferson, Esq., President of the United States of America

Sir, Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your election to office, we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyed in our collective capacity, since your inauguration , to express our great satisfaction in your appointment to the Chief Magistracy in the Unite States. And though the mode of expression may be less courtly and pompous than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, sir, to believe, that none is more sincere.
Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty: that Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor. But sir, our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter, together with the laws made coincident therewith, were adapted as the basis of our government at the time of our revolution. And such has been our laws and usages, and such still are, [so] that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation, and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights. And these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgments, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore, if those who seek after power and gain, under the pretense of government and Religion, should reproach their fellow men, [or] should reproach their Chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion, law, and good order, because he will not, dares not, assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.
Sir, we are sensible that the President of the United States is not the National Legislator and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the laws of each State, but our hopes are strong that the sentiment of our beloved President, which have had such genial effect already, like the radiant beams of the sun, will shine and prevail through all these States--and all the world--until hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the earth. Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and goodwill shining forth in a course of more than thirty years, we have reason to believe that America's God has raised you up to fill the Chair of State out of that goodwill which he bears to the millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence and the voice of the people have called you--to sustain and support you and your Administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth and importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.
And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.
Signed in behalf of the Association,
Neh,h Dodge } Eph'm Robbins } The Committee Stephen S. Nelson }
Source Letter of Oct. 7, 1801 from Danbury (CT) Baptist Assoc. to Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Wash. D.C.

(bold mine)

Which was exactly what Jefferson was talking about. He ain't'a gonna let one religious body govern. Which was exactly the problem with Cromwell: only one religious body had any say. The difference, of course, was that at the time, nearly all were Christian of some sort (the majority Anglican, if I recall correctly), while the rest were Deists (such as Benjamin Franklin).

Thus, they really couldn't have conceived of any sensible religious notion that was outside of or beyond that. They would never have conceived of the concept of Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, or other religions as remotely acceptable - it would have been far too much. While atheism certainly existed, it was looked down upon and generally thought of as foolishness. Darwin wouldn't be born for thirty more years, and his theory wouldn't be published for nearly a eighty years (paving the way for "religion-free" science). The "pagan" (non-Christian/Deistic) religions and religious ideology were all considered dangerous and unstable, and were socially reprehensible at the time.

Simply put, the Founding Fathers place religious tenets - their religious tenets - as the reasoning behind their early laws because that's where they came from and their thought process. The actual structure of the legal system came from Greek/Roman elements (Republic ideals) that were earlier refined in such countries as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (which maintained the power of the aristocracy), and later in our own Constitution* (after our brief romp with the effectively-failed - due to weakness - Articles of Confederation) which is what we have now. The point of all this? The Founding Fathers came from a time and place where everything - everything had religious basis - specifically of Judeo-Christian origin. Thus, all that they did was steeped in that kind of religious thought, even the "religious freedom".

*Yes, yes, I linked to the type of constitution rather than the actual U.S. Constitution. It doesn't matter, though, as I linked to it in the previous sentence - nyah-hah! - and, I felt it fit better to describe the transition of governmental types. Incidentally, after our constitution, the now-failing Polish-Lithunanian Commonwealth adopted their own!

So, anyway, my point isn't that "we're doing it wrong", so much as it is "we're not doing what they were thinking - at all - and claiming modern sensibilities on non-modern people is silly anyway". I mean, I'd describe myself as a Baptist, but I can say for certain that none of my Biblical heroes, at any point, would do so, nor would they share many of my thoughts, because, quite frankly, I live in a different time. I like to think that ultimately they would come to the same conclusions, but I know for a fact that many would be shocked and displeased that I... don't wear a beard (among other things). So, you know. Cultural differences matter when talking about these things. :)

EDIT: reference the side-rant: feel free to make a rebuttal, or whatever as you would like, but, I think for the purpose of this thread, after that, we should probably drop it. I'd be glad to continue with any questions, or if there are specific points (such as the note about Jefferson's letter), if I'm specifically invited to do so, but otherwise, after anything else you guys'd like to say, it probably shouldn't continue. Waaaaaaaayyyyyyyy off topic, after all. :)

Shadow Lodge

Another aspect along the same lines as the misunderstanding of church and state is that an aspect of the intent was also that "the church" not being a direct political entity of government, would serve as one of the two outside moral and ethic guards against that government abusing power. The point that the Church and the Press where given specific freedoms and privledges.

Early French Revolution philosophy and some American ideas based on similar sources tried very had for a almost anti-religious, humanistic focus, and in both cases this was removed.

They seemed very similar to Rahadoum's on the surface looks, vs say Andoran (as oppossed to Galt vs Andoran philosophies/outcomes).

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tacticslion wrote:

Ah, got it. I don't necessarily agree (though the images you paint are strange - not really the kind of art I normally associate with religious stuff, but to each their own), but I can see what you mean.

** spoiler omitted **

...

Agreed.

For closing, I'll just go with the reference you skipped, likely for lack of space:

Spoiler:
The Treaty of Tripoli
Signed by John Adams

"As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] ... it is declared ... that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever product an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries....
"The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation."
-- Treaty of Tripoli (1797), carried unanimously by the Senate and signed into law by John Adams (the original language is by Joel Barlow, US Consul)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have to admit: that was my ignorance, and was not left out due to "lack of space", but "lack of remembering it"! :)

I've got a few potential rebuttles, but again, different topic, so not for here or today. :D

Reference similarity between U.S. as compared to Rahadoum, I can't even begin to see it. Even with all that has been passed back and forth, the U.S. was clearly based on freedom of religion, instead of freedom from religion, and Rahadoum was very strongly the latter, to the point that they're setting up cons to frame/blame verifiably <spell check doesn't recognize this, but doesn't give me an alternative> good religion(s) in order to run them out, regardless of any behavior they've held (nothing is cited, at least, leaving us with a poor impression of them).

Lantern Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tacticslion wrote:

I have to admit: that was my ignorance, and was not left out due to "lack of space", but "lack of remembering it"! :)

I've got a few potential rebuttles, but again, different topic, so not for here or today. :D

Reference similarity between U.S. as compared to Rahadoum, I can't even begin to see it. Even with all that has been passed back and forth, the U.S. was clearly based on freedom of religion, instead of freedom from religion, and Rahadoum was very strongly the latter, to the point that they're setting up cons to frame/blame verifiably <spell check doesn't recognize this, but doesn't give me an alternative> good religion(s) in order to run them out, regardless of any behavior they've held (nothing is cited, at least, leaving us with a poor impression of them).

One thing you need to understand that prior to the writing of the American Constitution, the Church was the State and the State was the Church. In England for instance the ruling monarch is the head of the Church of England. At the time this included laws against being a Catholic for example. Catholic nations like Spain, had the same strictures against Protestants. Inquisitions were held not just to seek out witches but against other offenses classified as heresies.

The Founding Fathers were trying to keep the nation from being embroiled in all that nonsense. With good reason as at least some of them were Gnostics or other beliefs which sprang during the Enlightenment, which were persecuted by both parties.

Freedom of Religion is meaningless unless it includes Freedom FROM Religion. The last is a goal that's only been partially met in this society as declaring yourself an Atheist effectively removes you from seeking public office.

Shadow Lodge

I dont think that being aligned with an unpopular polutical catagory reflects a failure of freedom of religion, not to mention that having a different religion (say Mormon or Muslim) tends to offer a great deal of scorn and derogatory attitudes from others, too.


One thing I think it's important to understand in Rahadoum vis a vis the false flag operations the Pure Legion wants to run is that the Pure Legion has *very* little oversight and isn't directly part of the civilian government. It's more a problem of runaway military authority, possibly resulting in a coup, than any particular issue with the Rahadoumi as a whole being dicks.

Osirion

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Terraneaux wrote:
One thing I think it's important to understand in Rahadoum vis a vis the false flag operations the Pure Legion wants to run is that the Pure Legion has *very* little oversight and isn't directly part of the civilian government. It's more a problem of runaway military authority, possibly resulting in a coup, than any particular issue with the Rahadoumi as a whole being dicks.

So the worst excesses of the Pure Legion don't represent all of Rahadoum any more than The Burners represent all Iomedae worshippers, or the Lumber Consortium paymasters represent all Andorans?

That seems reasonable.

Shadow Lodge

I think that the Pure Legion is much moe common in Rahadoum than those other groups are within their associeted areas. The Pure Legion is essentually the countries police force/army, and does extend outside the country, while as I understand it, the Burners are a very minor cult and the L.C. only has any real presence in a smaller aea of Andoran (and only certain individuals within it are actually bad).

I could be wrong though.


Set wrote:
So the worst excesses of the Pure Legion don't represent all of Rahadoum any more than The Burners represent all Iomedae worshippers, or the Lumber Consortium paymasters represent all Andorans?

The Pure Legion doesn't 'represent' anyone. It's a military dictatorship occupying the same physical space as a representative democracy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I just got the Campaign Setting and going through it, Rahadoum stuck out like a sore thumb.

It just didn't make sense... and then I read a little more about Arnoden... the God of Man. Law of Man, God of Man, the nation closest to Azlant... is there a connection?

Is it possible that Rahadoum (I know this might conflicts greatly with canon) adopted the faith of Arnoden in exasperation with the manipulations and insanities of the other gods?

Now Arnoden is dead... his priests are powerless, and the squabbling pettiness of the other gods is the alternative. Perhaps Rahadoum is keeping the faith with Arnoden, but since he's dead, they no longer venerate him as divine, and in fact because he is dead, they are now ever more puritanical about rejecting the influence of other gods?

Just a thought.

Taldor

Evil Lincoln wrote:
Timothy Hanson wrote:
I am not sure how people would find this offensive. Actually I will go a step further and say I am not sure how this could even be seen as offensive.I can only assume you are referring to people who hate the gods being called atheist?

To clarify, the "offensive" content with respect to atheism in Pathfinder was not related to Rahadoum, but rather to the treatement of atheist souls in the Great Beyond cosmology. It's been discussed, and I think the creative director has said he would have it work differently in future versions.

Now, I wasn't personally offended by the Great Beyond example, but I can see how it gets a little strange what with atheism being the only belief system that exists more or less identically in the real world and the fantasy setting.

I am not trying to make a big deal of it, though. This topic carries a lot of baggage, and I fear that baggage may keep Paizo from exploring Rahadoum as much as I would like. Let's not let this thread degenerate into a real-world religious debate.

Although I am a Christian ("practicing" my faith as well as I know how), I must agree with my atheist friend. Atheists are sometimes unfairly portrayed as angry and hateful in debates across America and the West. The same, alas, has been the case for Christians. The immature form of the debate seems to equate disagreement with hate or intolerance. While there are angry and hateful people on both sides of the "faith" debate, it is unfair to paint all people within a certain belief system with the same broad brush. This is something that today's public square does all too often.

With all this said, I find the approach to Rahadoum fascinating and could hold interesting consequences for PCs as they adventure across this nation. Awesome stuff!


According to The Inner Sea World Guide, slavery is "commonplace" in Rahadoum. That makes it unambiguously evil by any normal standard. They have their "reasons" why? I'm sure they do. So did the Confederacy, apartheid South Africa, late Republican Rome, and any number of other states.

It's amazing to me how willing people are to make excuses for commonplace slavery because the slavers are "atheists".

James Sutter wrote:
Also, it should be noted that religious folks aren't necessarily executed.

Oh, I'm quite sure we're not. Again, slavery is "commonplace". Where do you think they get so many slaves from? Not by restricting potential slaves to atheists.

James Sutter wrote:
Would I immigrate to Rahadoum? Hell no--I want all that divine magic to keep my PCs healthy and happy. Yet I can also see the nobility in their mission (if not their method)

Yeah. You see, I wouldn't (voluntarily) immigrate to Rahadoum because I wouldn't want to be tortured and enslaved or killed. That you see "nobility" in a "mission" not to end oppression, but to become the oppressor, while dealing torture and slavery to those less fortunate than yourself, as long as it's "atheists" killing and enslaving "religious" people...


Someone in this thread probably beat me to the punch, but in scanning it I didn't see it. A very recent PFS scenario, you can probably guess by the title, makes this distinction. I haven't read it, but my GM in "I am reading box text" voice stated something like "While most people regard the people of Rahadoum as atheists, this is not entirely correct. They believe the gods exist, but that they are not worthy of worship."

Shadow Lodge

James Sutter wrote:
Also, it should be noted that religious folks aren't necessarily executed.
Oh, I'm quite sure we're not. Again, slavery is "commonplace". Where do you think they get so many slaves from? Not by restricting potential slaves to atheists.

It's very unlikely that they would keep religious people as slaves. For one, that is probably something that will get the nation itself erased from the surface of Golarion as other faithful catch wind of it and make it their faiths persona duty to cleanse the bastion of evil. Secondly, the natives would not want those people around to spread their faith. Thirdly, that would give the deities someone on the inside, and lastly, not everyone would actually want that. Most of the population has a sort of misguided, unrealistic fear of religion, and we know that the nation has some real issues with things like plagues and starvation. Having an individual that could honestly be able to help right there would probably break the nation. Sort of a reverse puritanism.

Most faithful are either executed, (not sure why James said they are not), or if they are lucky simply beaten and then forced out.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dotted.
Great thread.

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